A year ago I announced that my book series, Soul Broker, had been picked up for publication by Fantasy Works Publishing. Almost two months ago, the first book in the series, Soulless, officially hit the market.Celebrations were had, emotions ran high, and I was elevated to the pantheon of published authors, drinking ambrosia from the chalice of adulation. I quit my job, bought a house and hired a band to follow me around playing “Eye of The Tiger” as my own personal theme song.
Despite childhood dreams to the contrary, most authors don’t get to quit their jobs, sit back and collect boatloads of royalties. I knew this going in, so I wasn’t surprised by it. I was well aware that as an unknown, first-time author, my book wasn’t going to propel me into the upper echelon of society and literary notoriety.
My life now is more or less the same as it was back then. I still have a day job, I am still blissfully married and still proud as hell at everything my son does. And I still write. The toil never gets any easier, it just gets grittier and the scars get deeper. I’m currently working on book two, while simultaneously deflecting questions from well meaning loved ones who constantly ask me whether I’ve made it rich yet (as if making it rich was ever one of my goals. I never believed financial success to be an accurate measure of a person’s worth).
I tell them no, and try to explain that it’s a process that needs to build over time, and that I never expected fame. Quite the opposite. If you’ve read any of my former posts, you’ll probably know that I am a social coma victim, and talking about my work with anyone ranks on same level to me as waterboarding. That’s something else that hasn’t changed.
The only thing that has changed is that now when people ask, “Hey what have you been up to?” I must adhere to the publishing contract that I signed in blood, and shamelessly–and very clumsily–reply with some variation of, “Oh, not much, just working on (insert current chapter here), and trying to make sure (insert random character here)’s voice is the same as it was in the first book. This usually prompts them to question what I’m talking about–or they ignore me–and that prompts me to try to sound nonchalant–which I define as not being a stuttering, sweaty mess–when I explain to them that I have published a book and am working on the sequel to said published book. Sometimes they ask for the name of said book, and sometimes they shrink away like Homer Simpson dissolving into the hedges to avoid Ned Flanders.
If the former happens, I give them the name of the book, hope for a sale, and cease all further communication because I actually have to write book two. They walk away thinking I’m a conceited jerk because I have yet to develop proper social etiquette, and properly never will.
And that’s my life now in a nutshell. Not much different than it was before. Maybe it’ll stay like that forever, with me enjoying my craft while sharing it with the masses. Maybe my stories will one day hit it big, and I’ll be a household name (shivers in terror over that thought). In the meantime, life goes on, and that is great, because I am still working to improve, and grateful for my break. If it goes no further, I’ll still be happy every time I see a good review, because it means that someone had an enjoyable experience reading my book.